Dear Refugee Mother,
I can only imagine what you must be thinking. Seriously, who puts their children at risk the way you have? I mean, you had to see that poor excuse for a boat before you put your children on it, right? You had to think that her sea worthiness surely couldn’t hold that many bodies! You couldn’t possibly have thought for one second that it was a great idea to put your beloved children in harms way like that, right? It’s pretty irresponsible of you to have taken them in the dark of night out into the dangerous and unstable world in which we live, to get to that boat in the first place! You have one small bag! That’s not enough to sustain you and yours for more than a day or two! How could you put these tiny people who depend on you at risk like this? How are you going to feed them on your journey? You must be just another person waiting for a handout. Why did you have kids if you couldn’t support them anyway? What’s your plan when and if you ever reach another country? I say “if” because, seriously, that boat… What will you do? You have no means to support yourself, nothing of value, no plan… Frankly, I can’t fathom what you are thinking. I can’t fathom what you are thinking…
It is SO incomprehensible because it’s a concern that would never touch me. Because after all, you are a mother, just like me. To leave what’s left of your home with next to nothing, you must have felt as though you had even less to stay for than you had to take with you. To drag your babies across treacherous terrain in the dark of night, the risk of staying must have been much greater. You don’t have the luxury of a plan, you need human kindness. You need a hand up. The possibility that you all could survive near starvation with greater ease than you might survive the next few days if you don’t up and leave RIGHT NOW is beyond my mental grasp. The idea that you may all perish on that boat is a better option than staying. Because, if you stay you are certainly dead. These are the choices you are making while I choose my son’s pre-k. I love you, refugee mother.
I wonder what you must think. Which country do you dream of? Where do you imagine the smiles returning to the faces of your brood? Is it somewhere on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea? Germany? Hungary? They don’y want you. Do you pine for a spot at the table of plenty in the United States? Have you seen the news? I guess not. Well, we don’t want you here either. There are people who actually hate you and your children and they think you’ve got a lot of nerve wanting what they take for granted. They think you don’t deserve what they have. They think you aren’t their problem. They think they’re better than you. I still love you, refugee mother. We both would kill and die for our children, we would make impossible choices. We would carry the weight of these choices with us until our dying breath. We are the same in that way. We love and we grieve and we bleed red. We are the same in that way.
On behalf of mothers everywhere (even the ones who don’t love you), I am sorry refugee mother. I hate that anyone in this world faces choices like the ones you’ve had to make. I am sorry that there are circumstances in this world that allow others to force your hand. I’m sorry that in the after math, my countrymen have shown little regard for your human struggle. I’m sorry that certain death and imminent danger were your only options… and I’m sorry that when your baby’s lifeless body washed up on the sand, all I could do was stare at the image through my tears… helpless. I love you, refugee mother.